Shoehei Ohtani Is Current Favorite For AL Rookie Of The Year According To MLB Survey

Ohtani
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The American League Rookie of the Year race is coming to an end, and Shoehei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels is the current favorite according to a survey of Baseball Writers Association of America members conducted by the MLB. The Yankees Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres are in second and third place respectively at the moment with no other players garnering votes for first or second place. Joey Wendle of the Rays and Brad Keller of the Royals each received a single third-place vote. Although all have had solid seasons, Ohtani is leading the pack by a wide margin.

Torres barely earned consideration, garnering only one of the 36 available votes for first place. Andujar received nine first-place votes, and the remaining 26 went to Ohtani. While there are a few games left to play, it is not very likely that anything is going to change enough to knock Ohtani out of the top spot, which he holds with 154 total points.

Torres has mashed 23 home runs, which puts him in company with Yankee greats Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle for most homers by a Yankee in a single season before their 22nd birthday. According to Baseball Reference, he has driven in 74 runs and has an OPS of .729. He has struggled defensively at second, but still has a 2.9 WAR. All told, he has 71 total points in ROY balloting.

Andujar has taken 25 balls yard this year and driven in 85 runs. He’s carrying an .851 OPS according to Baseball Reference, and has a .298 BA. His 51 multi-hit games are the most by a Yankee rookie since Tom Tresh had 54 in 1962 and since Mike Trout had 56 in 2012 as a rookie. He also only needs two more doubles to break the record for that mark by a rookie in a season of 44, held by Joe DiMaggio since 1936. Like Torres, he has had a lot of fielding problems this season, but he has a 4.4 WAR which was enough to help tally 93 total points, per NJ Advance Media.

Finally, Ohtani has had a rookie year unlike any in decades. As the Angels DH, he has 21 homers, 56 ribbies, and a .925 OPS, per Baseball Reference. His WAR of 2.5 keeps him squarely in the starter range, but still a bit below what is considered all-star status. The hook to Ohtani is that he also pitches. He’s started 10 games, throwing over 50 innings, posting a 4-2 record. He’s whiffed 63 batters and posted a 3.31 ERA. Those are certainly good enough numbers in limited use to indicate he could be a solid fourth or fifth starter on most teams.

When Ohtani came over from the JPL, and hit and pitched at a high level, it is the first time anyone in either league has done each as effectively since the beginning of the live ball era, and some could argue since Babe Ruth last pitched for the Red Sox. The individual stats may not seem overwhelming, but the combination of all he brings to the plate makes him the prime candidate to check off all the boxes for the 2018 AL Rookie of the Year.